Simple Step (Shoes Off) can be Key to a Clean Home
In many cultures, especially in Asia, people always remove their shoes before entering a home. In Japan, for example, it is considered poor form to wear shoes inside a house, and even in some businesses. But in the United States, people rarely remove their footwear before they step inside.
According to eHow.com, the tradition of removing shoes in Japan could be related to the climate. Japan experiences heavy rainfall, and the roads and sidewalks are often wet or muddy. To track mud into a home would be considered disrespectful. Many Japanese rooms are designed for sitting or sleeping close to the floor. In Cambodia, according to Natural Home & Garden, removing shoes is a sign of respect for elders, and contributes to maintaining quiet. Many Scandinavians also remove their shoes before entering a home.
Do these cultures have the right idea? In all climates, dirt, allergens, and even pesticides are often brought into homes on footwear. Sometimes the result is obvious – we’ve all seen muddy footprints on carpets, or tracked across kitchen tiles. Most of us would take off our boots before walking through a clean house in order to avoid making that kind of mess. But what about dirt, mold spores, and allergens that are too small for us to see?
In American culture, many people feel uncomfortable removing their shoes in other people’s homes. Some wouldn’t consider it even in their own houses, because they don’t like the inconvenience, or they feel strange or uncomfortable walking in socks or bare feet. What about you? To protect your carpets and floors, could you ask your family to take off their footwear before entering your home? What about a business colleague, or a utility worker? It’s probably easier to ask family members or friends to extend this courtesy, but remember: every person who removes their shoes tracks less dirt, allergens, and pesticides into your home.
One way to encourage people to remove their shoes is to place a sign near the entrance of your house. Target sells a sign homeowners can use, and Victory Store offers a number of options, including a humorous version that states: “Life is full of choices. Remove your shoes or scrub the floor…thanks.” To make your request even more obvious, set a boot tray nearby where shoes can be deposited. You can also place clean slippers near the tray, so no one has to feel uncomfortable walking barefoot or in socks (be sure to wash the slippers after each use by guests).
Inevitably, some people will walk through your home wearing shoes. If they track in mud, it’s always a good practice to tackle stains quickly. COIT’s online Spot Removal Guide offers step-by-step directions for cleaning up mud stains on carpets. Use a dish detergent solution made with a teaspoon of mild dish detergent to one cup water. Then:
- Let dry.
- Brush, scrape or vacuum off as much as possible.
- Apply dish detergent solution.
- Rinse with tap water and blot dry.
If you can’t kick out the shoes, you can still kick out the dirt. For periodic professional Carpet Cleanings, contact COIT at 1-800-FOR COIT. And remember, we also clean Natural Stone, Tile & Grout, and many other home surfaces!